Jim McManis’ 23,000-title collection
Published in 2022 Northern California Super Lawyers magazine on July 5, 2022
About a block north of McManis Faulkner’s digs in downtown San Jose sits a stucco building with an unassuming black-and-white sign that reads “Democracy Resources.” Curious passersby who peer through the windows might spot a woman typing away on a computer or unboxing and carefully shelving the day’s arrivals. The woman is librarian Barbara Reedy, and she’s hard at work managing business litigator Jim McManis’ personal library.
How many books are in it? “Oh, you’d have to ask Barbara,” McManis says. “By last count, I believe the library has about 23,000-plus volumes.”
While having your own brick-and-mortar library might be a unique legal marketing tool, McManis says the collection is strictly a personal pursuit spurred by decades of passion.
“My love of books began in the third grade when my mother took my brother and me to the library every Saturday morning, and we were allowed to check out as many books as we could read in a week,” McManis says. “Once I could afford it, I began to buy as many books as I could.”
He estimates his book orders come in at about six to eight new titles a day, and they run the gamut from history to biography, sports, science, poetry, law, fiction, politics, classics and more. “There are a lot of subjects that interest me,” he says, like the history of China, for example.
Just don’t ask him to tell you about his favorite—and not because of the standard book-lover’s line of “It’s too hard to choose.”
“Since I receive so many, I am seldom able to finish them all, or even many,” McManis says. “I have probably started more books than anyone you know, yet I am certain I have finished fewer that anyone you know. It’s so hard to keep up.”
But no one with their own library wouldn’t have at least one title to name-drop.
“At this time in my life, I would say The Old Man and the Sea,” he says. “It’s beautifully written of course, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I had lost a lot of cases that I think I should have won. The sharks are always out there, but I still dream of the young lions on that African beach.”